How a condition-based maintenance approach led to cost savings for Elektra Renewable Support
In 2016, the Romanian investment group of companies, Elektra Group, which owned multiple wind farms across Southeast Romania, decided to create a specific business unit, Elektra Renewable Support (ERS), to handle all wind turbine services. O&M Manager Simona Gherlan and her team soon realized the importance of condition-based data and analysis in driving a cost-effective operations and maintenance strategy.
Missing component health status
After ERS started the internal service in the wind farms, Tortumanu 2 and 3, it became evident that to avoid wind turbine failures, further data was needed to assess the condition of core wind turbine components.
“We were waiting for the inevitable turbine shutdown to happen, which could lead to extensive maintenance repairs requiring spare parts with a longer lead time. Instead, we took matters into our own hands and started to look for a condition monitoring solution,” explains Simona.
When doing routine site inspections, the maintenance team performed different analyses. However, detailed insights into a component's condition were still missing, as Simona describes:
“When visiting the wind turbine farms, our maintenance team performed oil analyses and auditive inspections, which of course is not as reliable as it is supposed to be. Our need to prevent unplanned downtime is how we came across TCM®.”
Improving maintenance planning and saving money
Implementing TCM® has benefitted Elektra Renewable Support and the wind farms owners, in various ways, including receiving more accurate condition-based data that has improved their maintenance planning for the short and long term.
“With TCM®, we can reduce the number of site inspections, hire the right crane subcontractors for the right price and better plan the procurement of spare parts, which allows for a lower spend,” Simona outlines.
TCM® has enabled Elektra Renewable Support to detect emerging faults and improve planning site inspections and component replacements, even during the first week of operational use, as Simona explains:
“Before we installed TCM®, we did not identify any faults or damages to components. During the first week, TCM® identified damages to an IMS shaft. Fast forward to the present, and we can identify patterns and repetitive faults that we have incorporated in our maintenance planning.”
Simona Gherlan does not doubt that Elektra Renewable Support continues to reap the benefits of using TCM® in their wind turbine fleets. She continues:
“With TCM®, we have replaced up-tower everything from high-speed shaft bearings, IMS shafts and generator bearings in several wind turbines. Avoiding the gearbox replacements alone have saved us an estimate of 1-1,5 million euros over two years. For us, TCM® has definitely been worth the investment,” says Simona.
Peace of mind
Installing TCM® and using it as part of their daily workflow has made operations and maintenance planning more straightforward for Elektra Renewable Support. In addition, they also use the remote condition monitoring service, TCM® Monitoring, as Simona explains:
“By using TCM® Monitoring, all vibration data is analyzed by the TCM® specialists. This service provides us with recommended actions, which helps us improve our operational decisions and maintenance planning.”
Simona emphasizes that working with the TCM® team at KK Wind Solutions has also contributed positively to the strong partnership:
“The TCM® team does everything in a very professional manner. They have never failed us, and they always deliver easy to understand data, so we can fully understand what is happening with our wind turbine components,” says Simona and ends:
“Using TCM® gives us peace of mind. We have been so pleased with TCM® that we are now looking to expand TCM® installations across more wind farms.”
About Elektra Renewable Support
Elektra Renewable Support (ERS) is a successful technical operations leader for wind energy and photovoltaic systems, operating more than 350MW in Europe and Romania. ERS acts as a quality provider for the international market, with a permanent improvement vision for the future. ERS is a trusted partner for its customers in all aspects while providing a high degree of flexibility.
Personalized services, considering each clients’ needs, from design and construction to commercial and technical operation and maintenance, including every step of technical consultancy, through our specialists, represent a strong point and a must in today’s energy market.